Wow! It’s almost Christmas again! It creeps up on me so quickly here. It’s hard to remember that it’s Christmas when it’s not the end of the school year. It doesn’t quite feel right. Anyway, here’s a short summary of my year. It’s been a crazy one!
I spent New Year’s Eve with friends in Canberra looking out on a hailstorm that caused blackouts and lots of property damage! I soon returned to Beijing where I handed in my resignation, to be effective at the end of March.
Between January and March, three close friends moved away. Sad Tanya. In February and my sister came to visit. Happy Tanya! She and I travelled to Xishuangbanna in Southern China for a lovely getaway (where my Chinese got quite a workout – to my delight I fared reasonably well). She stayed to celebrate Chinese New Year with lots of fireworks!
I started April unemployed but busy! The April youth camps were amazing and I had an amazing apprentice helping me with the admin. From April to July I lived off savings (and friends!) while doing youth work as a volunteer. I also began leading worship (in Mandarin and English) at the BICF’s Bilingual service, which I greatly enjoyed despite my nervousness. I also spent quite a lot of time on my songwriting.
In July I flew to Thailand for a few days with Carla (Koh Phangan and Bangkok) on the way back to Australia. I spent over a month in Canberra enjoying the clean air, readily available Cadburys, and most of all, Mum’s cooking! But I missed home (Beijing)! August saw Natasha’s 21st birthday celebrations and my return to China (yay!)
Shortly after I got back the youth director stepped down and I took on the job of Interim Director during the process of finding and hiring a replacement. It’s been a stretch for me, but the kids remain, as always, one of the greatest joys in my life. The youth camps happened in November and I had the delight of watching a team of youth run a lot of the logistics, and do so extremely well.
Following the camps I got a nasty flu which laid me low for the better part of a month. I’m slowly getting my strength back now, and looking forward to the Christmas break, to be spent in large part with the youth (and their families). I’m also looking forward to a trip to Texas in January!